After a week of getting blackout drunk poolside and landing back in Canada, fish told me that he was “going to need a few days” before he’d be “ready” to see me. All week he had texted me from the resort with a fervor I assumed the time he needed was for doing chores or errands and catching up with normal life or work responsibilities. But mid-week he dropped a bomb, so to speak when he told me “I don’t want to tell you what I’m working through – you take Imodium for it.” It’s not romantic but it’s a good a place as any to start the story of our second date; in short, it’s shit:
Fish: Whats up for the weekend? Im free fri, sat up til 4 and all sunday.
Me: Dunno. Pick your poison.
Fish: Fri would likely be ok.
Me: Just ok?
Fish: Haha well ya it will hoping my tiredness and the Imodium works again
Me: Oh you’re saying you’re hoping to be ok.
Fish: Its nice to be chatting on the regular again though pen ole buddy ole pal
Me: Yea? I was surprised you texted me from Punta Cana.
Fish: U came across my mind time to time
Another little exchange of texts I’m fond of happened when I was approached by an older gentleman while at a work event attending the Rogers Cup. He was friendly and handsome but significantly older than my dating range, he looked to be at least 20 years older than me. As he reached out to touch my arm to ask about my tattoo I looked around for reprieve in my peer group – no luck – and just then, my phone dinged loudly. I excused myself to check the message; on my screen was a notification of the fish asking how the matches had been and if I was heading home yet. As I took my seat on the shuttle bus I replied to fish scolding him for interrupting and dashing my potential love connection with a retiree.
Fish: Im glad I take priority over a creep
Me: Should I bump you higher up? Over who? My mother?
Fish: Haha well I wanna say yea
Me: Done. She’s dead to me. What mother?
Fish: Lol you’re such a babe.
Me: A babe? Heartless you mean. I just disowned my mother.
Fish: Well u melted my heart.
We stayed in regular contact. He chided me for not liking enough of his new Instagram posts; which somehow was endearing to me, maybe because I’m a mother. He texted me a photo of his two “free tix” to the movie theatre and said “Someday … one for me one for you.” We talked about movies he liked and he said one of his favourites is PS I love you; when I admitted I’d never seen it he was horrified. We set our date for Friday and he asked me to “chillingly pick something to do” (because I’m so chill) but we knew the plan was dinner+ (find something to do on the fly).
Friday after work he texted to say a patio spot seemed smart since it was so nice out and asked if I wanted to be picked up or meet at his place and head there together? When I arrived, he was so proud to show me his outfit – coral shorts and a white linen button-up shirt and dock shoes. He kissed me hard before we left for dinner saying he wanted to greet me properly and that kiss is probably the only time I’ve felt anything close to a real connection since my ex.
The patio was just a block or two down the road and when we were seated we unwittingly (at least on my part) ordered unnecessarily over-sized beers. I watched him open his mouth and pour the entire thing down his throat, and after they took our food order he ordered another that came while we ate. His voice grew more boisterous but not unpleasant in any of the ways you might expect. But it’s worth noting, we were in a restaurant geared to an older crowd and people had started to cast a few glances our way. We mostly talked about his trip, he told me little stories and showed me a few photos. When we finished eating, I quietly asked for and settled the bill. He was reluctant but I insisted and he thanked me. As I gathered my purse he what remained in my beer, two thirds of an unreasonably large beer. I didn’t love it. We took a stroll through a sidewalk sale on the way back to his house.
When we settled onto his couch, he apologized for drinking so much and admitted he does it when he’s socially intimidated or nervous. He asked if I wanted to watch Jurassic World (finally) but finding a stream proved difficult. His followup offer was “PS I love you” and almost immediately I found I had zero interest in it, so you’ll have to forgive what comes next: We started fooling around , talking and laughing, and it was apparent we were both escalating, so I eventually sputtered out a “Ok, let’s go” and we headed off to his bedroom. After sex he apologized about the size of his dick (it’s average), lamenting he wished it was bigger for me. We went back to the living room and he put the movie back on back on. I lasted less than ten minutes before I literally just pulled his torso on top of me out of sheer boredom; this happened three more times that night. He’d put the movie on, I couldn’t stand it, we’d have sex. After the last time he looked at me “Do you want to just stay in bed and watch something in here? You can stay the night? We can go get breakfast in the morning if you don’t have anywhere to be.” And because of my own baggage and reasons, immediately, I’m on edge.
I have a weird thing about sleeping near men – I’ll say this about it in hopes you can understand me a little better: In the last few months of my relationship with my ex, he pressed my thumbprint onto my phone while I slept to gain access to the entirety of my text messages, diaries, and poetry. He admitted to doing it multiple times weeks later; I had no idea until he told me and I haven’t been the same since. When I wake up next to a man, I feel instant panic of what’s happened while I was unconscious.
So when fish asked me to stay over – a feeling of dread sunk deep in my stomach. I told him I’d stay for a while and then meet up with him in the am for breakfast. He asked me several times over the course of the next movie, as we watched in his bed, but the final time he said defiantly “Or you know, you can just leave.” And something about the way he said that last bit – it was like the starter pistol of terror for me. I don’t blame fish at all, he could have no way of knowing. But something in his tone, I just remember thinking “he’s telling me to get the fuck out of here – he’s done with me.” I think I laughed out “yeah, I should go” gritting through what felt like being punched in the stomach. I’ve never gotten dressed that fast ever in my entire life. I was at his kitchen counter collecting my purse and car keys before he even realized what had happened – he was throwing clothes on following me scrambling for an explanation and offering retractions on whatever he said. I caught the look in his eye for just a second – he looked like he felt some combination of bewilderment and horrified. I don’t ever remember what I said, my brain was screaming “get the fuck out of there before you crack”.
I cried in my car as I drove home. It was 2am. My phone dinged as I parked:
Fish: I cant believe I scared you out of bed
Me: I like you fish. No joke no bullshit. I spook easy. Brekky/Brunch if you want.
Fish: I actually made plans. Kidding ya I’m down. That was lots of fun thanks. Im back in bed with the AC howling thinking of you.
Me: I like holding your hands a lot.
If he had left the conversation there I’d have been OK … I think. But he didn’t:
Fish: Can we do that position b4 brekky?
Fish: Shoulda slept over u b
Me: Shhh. Goodnight you b.
All the softness the night could have rendered between us hardened as I slept that night. Those last few texts are what gave me pause, and in the next blog, I’ll tell you two truths and a lie: broken breakfast, inarticulate intentions, and a choice made between two second-night-stands.